I know the title of this blog post is such a cliche, but I couldn’t help it!
And truth be told I was very hungry. Most weeknights my boyfriend comes home quite late from work; around 10pm-11pm. Whahhaa?! You say! I know. But such is the working life in Japan, and I can’t complain because I know that some of his colleagues have it worse! Even working weekends.
So I wait at home most nights, like a good ‘ wannebe- house-wife’ and think about what I’m going to cook for dinner. Most nights when he gets home we’re both starving! I’ve learnt new ways to work around this, for example I always try to have a late-ish lunch around 2.30pm to 3pm, but by around 6pm I have a snack. I actually think this is getting a little bit unhealthy because I don’t always eat the healthiest food. Especially when I’m the only person around. I think the problem is that I love eating food with other people, and it’s so social that when I’m the only one eating half the fun is gone!!!
Now one of the ladies that I met at the Okonomiyaki Party, (you can read this in my last post), told me about a Miso glaze recipe that she had used from Harumi Kurihara. Billed by her PR team as the Martha Stewart of Japan, her books are available in English as well as Japanese. I read on her website that she does change some of the recipes in her English book to make the ingredients and cooking more accessible to a Western Audience. This makes sense, as not all Japanese ingredients are readily available elsewhere. That aside, this was actually the first time I’ve hear of her, and it seems like you either hate or love her from what I’ve read online. These ladies loved her. Both the ladies had tried the miso glazed recipe and it did sound NYOM! NYOM!
For those of you who are interested and want to try it at home, I got this recipe from the lovely lady, but after typing in ‘Harumi Kurihara Scallops’ in Google I came across this link. Which is almost the same recipe I used.
But the proportions I used were slightly different, the recipe I had called for larger spoonfuls of the sauce and more scallops. I might try a variation of the recipe in the link next time. I’m not going to type it out, you can easily click on the link, and really that’s the boring part. Jokes. Instead I’ll share the changes!
I had already decided that the scallops itself weren’t quite enough for a whole meal ( I know, what a pig I hear you say!), luckily I had some baby asparagus in the fridge (on sale! Win!), and thought I could get some Salmon to go with it. The salmon fillets in Japan tend to be a much smaller serve than this back home in Australia. This is because we big western-eating people like to eat one big meal, but most Japanese will serve the fish PLUS at least 2-3 other dishes with their rice. Which works out well because I love eating a bit of everything. I’m that annoying person who, when you go out, says ‘Oh can I try a bit?’ their forks already hovering over that favourite bit you saved for last. Yes, that’s me.
Whilst at the supermarket I saw Asari Clams on special and couldn’t help myself. Even though I already had quite a large dish, I thought, well, it’s on special!! I can’t resist a good bargain! AND I LOVE Asari Clams. Some of you may know them as Manilla Clams as well. So they went in my trolley too. I decided to serve this in an Asari Miso Soup, the recipe I have is SO simple, it’s quicker than instant noodles. It takes me about 5 mins from start to finish. It’s so delicious, I couldn’t help but take a picture and taunt some of my friends on Facebook with it. Voila!
Asari Clams and Mushroom in Miso
Now if you want to cook this, the recipe I use is from another Blogger’s website. Click on the link to try yourself. Some things that I do differently are –
- Up the Clams, there are NEVER enough clams
- Try tofu and seaweed as well to add more flavour to the soup.
- DEFINITELY give the Clams a good soak with the salt water. Clams sometimes have a crunchy taste and the salt water helps them release the salt and spit out all the crap they might have been holding on to.
Now for the next Miso dish! I decided to serve my Seared Salmon and Scallops on a bed of Baby Asparagus and Rice.
Again, I’m just going to run through the things I did differently the link is above anyway. Note the recipe is only for Scallops with Sauce.
- I use red rice, I love the flavourful crunchy texture of this. You can mix this with normal rice, the colour is really rich so I proportion it 1:3 – red rice:normal rice. Back home in Australia you can find it in most Coles or Safeway, for some silly reason they call it ‘Forbidden Rice’. A bit of a marketing gimmick if you ask me! In Malaysia, we serve the red mixed with brown and white for a different flavour as well.
- I blanched the asparagus in salt, olive oil and boiling water, very quickly.
- I skipped the flour. I didn’t really think it was necessary and the miso adds a heaviness to it anyway.
- The recipe I had called for larger Tbsps of Mirin, Soy etc. (2-3 tbsps of each) I actually think that the smaller quantities on the link is better as I ended up with a lot of extra sauce which unfortunately went to waste. Mottainai! (as the Japanese say, it means what a waste!)
- I would also suggest reducing the Miso, depending on which Miso you decide to use. I’m not sure if my Miso was too strong, but I found the flavour to be VERY heavy. I also cut a bit of the sugar, as Mirin already has a natural sweet taste to it. Although it was delicious to start with, I found that the glaze overpowered the natural sweetness of the scallops and ended up scraping some of it off, again this might have been because of the type of Miso I used (mixed).
- I used yoghurt instead of cream, as I had natural organic yoghurt in the fridge and couldn’t be bothered getting cream. Cream in Japan has a very low fat content anyway.
In conclusion, I really liked the flavours of the dish, BUT I think I’m going to try it again with some tweaks. I’m not sure if I did it quite right, the Miso Glaze/Sauce was very heavy and when paired with the delicate scallops, the scallops lost out a bit. It also left me with a bit of a salty aftertaste. If you have had Nasu Dengaku ( Miso Grilled Eggplant) you will find that this has the same flavour ( in fact I’m going to try this glaze with the nasu) I’m going to retry with smaller quantities and less Miso next time. I’m positive it’s going to be even tastier.
My boyfriend had already gulped down half the meal by the time I took a photo! He agreed as well that a little of the sauce goes a long way and volunteered his opinion with no prompting.
Japan Cooking Mission Complete!! Miso Happy! (I couldn’t help it)
Any questions or comments? Let me know below!